By Najja Parker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
One mother was unsure if her deaf infant would ever be able to listen to her voice. But when doctors installed an implant that allowed her baby to hear for the first time, she was moved to tears.
A team at Cooks Children’s Ear Nose and Throat hospital in Texas worked with Will and Anna Esler to create an implant for their daughter Ayla.
In June, they recorded a video of the little one being fitted for a cochlear implant, an electronic device that takes on the role of the inner part of the ear known as the cochlea. It helps send sound signals to the brain.
When the device is turned on, Ayla, who is sitting in her mother’s lap, smiles and begins to reach for her ear.
“Yeah, you heard it,” a voice says in the background, and Anna Esler starts to cry.
The recording, which was uploaded to YouTube, went viral, garnering more than 67,000 views within a few days.
“Every child responds differently when their cochlear implants are activated, and so we didn’t know what kind of reaction she would have,” the mom said in an interview with the hospital. “And even though I knew it would work, there was still some doubt in my mind, so when I saw her responding to sound I was overwhelmed by thankfulness to God and to everyone else who has been a part of this journey.”
According to her parents, the baby girl is adjusting to the new device well, and they are teaching her how to recognize that sounds have meaning.
“She’s already responding positively — sometimes she turns to sounds [which she had never done before], she dances to music, she’s starting to calm down when we sing to her if she’s upset,” they said. “We really couldn’t be more thankful for the new opportunities our little girl has thanks to everyone in her life.”